Thursday, November 17, 2005

Military Readiness Act

According to The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network now a full one hundred US Senators and Representatives support the repeal of Don't Ask - Don't Tell and favor the Military Readiness Act which would end discrimination in our military forces based on a individuals sexual orientation.

What is amazing to me is the growing amount of traditionally conservative Congress Persons who are supporting this act. To be honest i was worried that this bill was ill timed. I was worried that presenting it would cause a back-lash against homosexual issues nationwide. It has yet not garnered the type of national exposure many of us expected to see. When it finally does hit the mainstream it will be interesting to see how America reacts.


Bill Baar said...

One sad reason it hasn't received much press is the advocates for it too busy telling us Bush lied or pushing same-sex marriage.

We have Gay troops fighting and dying in a war for a liberal culture in the Arab world and our Liberals at home too occupied with local issues. So occupied it seems that they can't even defend, honor, and advocate for the people fighting. Hence the low visibility you find for this bill.

I'm really disgusted and not amazied at all you see traditional conservatives lining up to support something Liberals seem to overlook. Duty and Honor are words traditionalist are going to respond too as will most Americans.

Here is Nick Cohen in The Guardian via Labour friends of Iraq writing on Iran's Maryam Namazie. Cohen lays out the fundamental question splitting Liberalism and the left. Most Liberals I see not acquiting themselves well at all.

Namazie is on the right side of the great intellectual struggle of our time between incompatible versions of liberalism. One follows the fine and necessary principle of tolerance, but ends up having to tolerate the oppression of women, say, or gays in foreign cultures while opposing misogyny and homophobia in its own. (Or 'liberalism for the liberals and cannibalism for the cannibals!' as philosopher Martin Hollis elegantly described the hypocrisy of the manoeuvre.) The alternative is to support universal human rights and believe that if the oppression of women is wrong, it is wrong everywhere.

I don't think Marriage is a right for anyone.

But I think anyone who enters service, who lays down there life for their country and a fights in a great cause, deserves respect and honor.

There is common ground here most Americans will proudly occupy. Some of our great Liberal leaders will be the last to join Americans on this common ground.

It's a stunning failure of the left.

David Pyle said...


It was not acceptance of equality that caused the military to accept African Americans into the services, but rather needs of war. It was not equality that caused us to integrate units racially, but rather needs of war. It was not equality that caused us to put women in uniform, but rather needs of war. It will not be equality that allows (and has begun to allow) women to serve in combat positions, but rather needs of war.

So, I am not at all surprised that it is "needs of war" that is driving a final acceptance of homosexuality in the military. Liberal political action simply does not have the same kind of effect on military policy that it can have on civilian policy. The military overall, by its very nature tends to be politically conservative. If you want the military to change, you have to give it reasons based upon its primary mission in order for it to do so.

In a time of dropping enlistments, dropping retention, and dropping requests for commissions, letting any soldiers, sailors, and airmen go who wish to serve, are capable of serving, and in many cases are great at their jobs is simply unthinkable. "Needs of War" will eventually trump worrying about sexual orientation.

Just as it did skin color and gender. The key is to remember that the military does not react like civilian agencies. Change takes different kinds of pressure.

This is one of the reasons I support formation of a UU Military Affiliate Organization... because it often "takes a soldier to think like a soldier". Among myriads of other reasons, the UUA needs an organization/office that understands how the military thinks, in order to prod it towards positive change.

Yours in Faith,


Bill Baar said...

Gays are already integrated into the force and contributing to the needs of war.

So I don't really buy the "needs of war" argument.

Jamie Goodwin said...

I wouldn't be so sure Bill, military analysts are saying that numbers are down across the board. Enlistments, MOS-Q (job qualified), Officer Commisions, so on and meanwhile the military is turning away thousands a year based solely on their sexual orientation. In today's culture new recruits are not willing to join and hide who they are.

David Pyle said...


With all due respect...

Having to hide your orientation is not "integrated into the military". Facing threat of removal because of your orientation is not integration... it is denial.

The military will not be integrated until Gays may openly serve without fear of reprisal.

Now, before anyone asks, I'm straight. It is about equality for me... nothing more and nothing less.

This is from the article that Jamie quoted...

The Pentagon has said it has discharged more than 10,000 service members for being gay, including nearly 800 with skills deemed "mission critical" by the Department of Defense, since ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ went into effect. Those who have been discharged include linguists, combat engineers, pilots, medical professionals and others.

According to statistician Gary Gates, the armed forces could attract as many as 41,000 new recruits by repealing ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell,’ in addition to the estimated 65,000 lesbian and gay Americans already on duty in the active duty, reserve and national guard forces.

I wish the military were truely integrated, but it is not. Serving in the closet is not integration. They should be able to tell... to have their partners participate in the family support groups, and attend unit functions. Partners should receive unit support during a deployment.

And they should be able to serve openly without fear of retaliation.

How will this happen? The needs of the Service will break the barrier, and then it will simply become the norm.

Mark my words... it is how it has always happened.

Yours in Faith,


Bill Baar said...

I'm no defender of the policy. I think it should be dropped because it's wrong. But I think it will do little to add to recruitment goals.

I worked for DoD from 79 through 86. Three of these years overseas. Gays seemed integrated througout the service I encounterd (and I know the Army changes dramatically over time).

There was no "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy then, but my experience, especially overseas, is Everyone Knows more about each other than they care too.

Sexuality was no trivial issue because Weinberger dropped the prohibition for denying security clearance based on it.

African Americans and Japanese Americans served in segregated Units. Their experience very different.

On a related note, check this article in Today's Weekly Standard from a Woman Service Member studying Law at Harvard, Don't Serve / Don't Tell
The limits of liberal tolerance at Harvard Law School. by Kate Thornton Buzicky

As a footnote, and something to think about after reading Buzicky, look for Mark Shields columns on Paul Douglas Brigades.

Paul Douglas was the great Liberal Senator from Illinois who resigned to join the Marines in WWII at age 50 and saw combat in the Pacific.

Shields argues for creation of Paul Douglas Brigades for today's "chicken hawks". A term he uses I think.

My Dad told me Douglas's story often in the 60s.

He also told me Charles Lindbergh's story.

Lindbergh was an American Firster who thought FDR had taken the US into the wrong war, against the wrong enemy in WWII but then desperately sought to serve once war started. FDR despised Lindbergh and blocked him but Lindbergh prevailed.

So I've thought what this war needs are Lindbergh brigades of guys who also think this is the wrong war, against the wrong foe.

Get some folks prompting that sense of service on campus and you'll see a change in the service.